TRUTH, FICTION, AND NOTHING BUT GOSSIP AT HIGHEST LEVELS

by James A. Wilson

Once when I was still pastoring a member of my board raised a complaint at a board meeting. It seems a newcomer family had complained I pressured them for a pledge of money to the church. I responded this was neither my style nor a typical part of a newcomer visit; besides that I categorically denied doing it. The board member persisted that her friend was reliable and I needed to apologize for my misdeed. When I pointed out the Bible we revered required two eyewitnesses to verify a report against a leader – hoping to avoid wasting time on he-said-she-said – she seriously responded that inasmuch as her friend had witnessed my misbehavior and then told her of it there were two eyewitnesses. The rest of the board laughed off this equating of gossip with an eyewitness account and we moved on.

The latest tempest-in-a-teapot over President Donald Trump is much worse. A federal intelligence officer claims POTUS pressured the new Ukrainian president in a telephone conversation to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden over his recorded coercion of said president into firing a Ukrainian prosecutor; POTUS is even accused of threatening US aid to Ukraine as leverage. The Acting Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice did not treat disclosure as an emergency and Democratic Congressional leaders – and others, including some Republicans – are up in arms over what some would call “the appearance of evil” per the biblical 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Why did they refuse to rush what would be a serious – and perhaps impeachable – abuse of power? It is simple enough.

The whistleblower has no firsthand knowledge of the telephone conversation. Some other unidentified person(s) told the whistleblower and that makes – in the minds of the New York Times, CNN, and Democratic leaders – two witnesses corroborating the story. The whole thing is dizzying unless we recall our country has a document nearly as sacred as the Bible called the Constitution; that document requires witnesses to be confronted by the accused and hearsay evidence to be inadmissible on its face. We need to laugh and move on from this absurdity – this journalistic atrocity. Instead, Democrats are going full speed ahead on an impeachment inquiry.

There are larger issues than this, although it can be readily seen the Times and CNN have again deliberately misled the American People by calling credible that which is vicious gossip at best. The larger issue is whether or not POTUS used the power of the presidency for political gain against a rival or simply requested a legitimate look into justice. Joe Biden – against whom Trump is accused of conspiring – has been seen and heard by millions of Americans bragging of how he strong-armed the former Ukrainian president into firing a state prosecutor who was investigating Biden’s son, Hunter, for graft. Even under these circumstances if our president invoked a quid pro quo forcing his counterpart to investigate Biden or lose US military assistance it would be impeachable. However, the conversation from last July has now been released; it was a friendly exchange in which Ukraine first broached the subject and then volunteered to aid in any investigation the US might undertake.

Additionally, Donald Trump had already frozen aid to Ukraine prior to this conversation on grounds of Ukrainian government corruption. With the advent of a new president he unfroze the funds before this conversation took place or was even contemplated. Money for aid was never once mentioned in the conversation. That our DOJ is currently investigating the roots of the Mueller investigation and FISA Court abuses stemming from high office holders in the Obama Administration – possibly including abuses by the former vice president – is well known. Almost as well known is that the Ukrainian Government made attempts to provide evidence during Mueller and was stonewalled. If Ukraine is again offering cooperation it appears much more like a clean than an unclean move on their part – and on the part of our president.

What we have here is House leaders grasping at yet another straw in their lust to uncover something impeachable where there is not – and never has been – anything. They are relying on nothing but gossip. Additionally we have nothing but a friendly leader encouraging another leader to complete the housecleaning he has already begun, as Trump himself is completing a housecleaning. Finally we have the utter absence of anything resembling quid pro quo alongside abundant evidence Donald Trump was simply doing his job as the President. House and media leaders attempting to again deceive the American People need to spend some time in time out…and do some serious repenting.

The rest of us have some serious repenting to do as well. The facts do indeed need to come out and all of us should eagerly seek the truth, letting the chips fall where they may. That said, Americans have been gifted with a government of, by, and for the people themselves. That government presupposes responsible citizenship, not whining malcontents on both sides demanding somebody else get things right. In Donald Trump we have a president who stands for life, responsible constitutional government acting only when it must, and personal responsibility played out on a level playing field. We owe it to the God who made all of us Americans to stand with our president.

That standing includes voting him a Congress of honest and decent representatives. This occurs only when we re-commit to honesty and decency ourselves – or at least a critical mass of us so do. Then it gets really good.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

HURRICANE DORIAN: THANKSGIVING A GOOD PLACE TO START

by James A. Wilson

Much has been spoken and written – deservedly so – about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. The Category 5 storm hit the Bahamas with lethal force, accounting for more than sixty deaths and counting, plus mega millions in property damage. It killed two more people on Ocracoke Island – offshore of North Carolina – and sowed more devastation when it hit Eastern Canada. Progressive politicians and activists managed to make political hay – shocker – by accusing Donald Trump and ICE of new outrages when they declined to admit a hundred Bahamians to the country without visas. But I have not seen or heard one word about how thankful Americans ought to be in the matter of Hurricane Dorian.

Seriously, Jim? Sure, you are the guy who is always carrying on about how a Eucharistic heart – a heart thankful by default that can only be grown by repetitious choosing to give thanks when it makes sense and when it is counter-intuitive to the max – but seriously?

Let me count the ways. Dorian was expected to devastate Florida with nearly the destruction it brought Grand Bahama; for all practical purposes Florida was untouched as the storm turned northeast and skirted the Florida shoreline. By the time it reached the Carolinas it was – against all predictions – down to Category 1 and barely swiped the mainland, if at all. It swept up the eastern seaboard without much more than a peep although it flared up again on reaching Canada. You’d better believe there’s thanks to be giving!

There are other things to be thankful for. Untold thousands of Christians prayed in the days and weeks leading up to the storm breaking; they prayed for mercy and provision and for God to get glory for Himself. I don’t know whether people in the Bahamas and Northeastern Canada prayed with such commitment – surely some did and perhaps many – but I am inclined to thank God for what He has actually done rather than winge about what He has yet to do. That certainly aligns with the urging in 1 Thessalonians 5 to choose joy however we feel, pray without ceasing, and give thanks for all things. That is how we are enabled to see how God keeps His promise in Romans 8 to work all things for good in those who love Him and are called accordingly – sooner or later and one way or another.

The promise and instruction are potentially all encompassing of humanity, although in practice the number heeding either or both is much smaller. It is too difficult for most of us – and I include myself all too often – to really surrender our will to anyone else, especially when that One says we need to persevere to the end if we want to see the good stuff unleashed. The good news is all that persistence comes about through one choice at a time to repent – re-focus – enough to say thanks when it seems a silly thing to choose in the face of relentless adversity.

Of course it is counter-intuitive. Yet when we begin with thanksgiving we find our attention is diverted away from present – and entirely real disaster – to what the Lord Himself is beginning to unfold in the ashes. When I was divorced in 2015 – and let no one think I am defending divorce, including my own – hell had no fury like what most of the Church turned on me without a hearing or a question. Frankly, I was so spiritually exhausted I would have been happy to finish my days in the peace of obscurity; I chose to give thanks even for pain and injustice while waiting to see what the Lord had in mind. What he had in mind – so far revealed – was a new love and family, re-location to Australia where I not only married but found a British publisher for the novel turned down by so many American houses. I was invited to revive the radio ministry I left behind in California, was led to Idaho when my wife received her green card, was enabled to buy a home against all odds, and find myself still discovering the new pathways of ministry I would never have found in a million years had disaster never struck.

It was no different when it took five years of record-breaking drought to bring a few thousand Christians in each west coast state to seek a culture of repentance – begging God to make in us a eucharistic heart is a big first step into it – that radically changed our lives. God broke the drought into the bargain after spreading one man’s vision from the Mexican border into Alaska and the Arctic Circle.

No, we are not capable of doing all things – certainly when the adversary is a hurricane or a drought. We are – however – capable of choosing thanks over depression, and so enabling God to perfect His strength in our demonstrated weakness.

In the spirit then of 2 Chronicles 7:14, thank you Lord…for Dorian.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

LIFE BEGINS WHEN GOD BEGINS IT

by James A. Wilson

Practitioners of the religion of Baal are happy to co-opt the Christian Faith and even the Christian Bible when it suits their purposes. Leftist presidential candidates are enthusiastic about just such a practice, as evidenced by Pete Buttigieg’s recent statements claiming the Bible says life begins only when a baby first draws breath. Others will jump on this bandwagon they imagine a perfect vehicle for justifying abortion up to the moment of birth. Extending the logic can even justify post-birth execution; one can say the baby is not breathing on his own until the umbilical cord is cut. It is tailor made until we realize it is just another murderous lie.

Hopefully no one will be fooled, although left wing groups – including some who call themselves Christian – have been touting the idea for awhile. Genesis 2:7 is their favorite proof-text, the one in which God breathes into the nostrils of the man He has created and only then does Adam begin to live. Certainly breathing is essential for life inasmuch as when we stop breathing we tend to stop living. Yet the contention is still a lie from every conceivable point of view.

Eve was already breathing when she was removed from his side – if we take the Biblical account seriously – I do, but Buttigieg admits in interviews he does not unless it suits his agenda. That is because a human body oxygenates all flesh within it after that first breath; simple logic and the facts of physiology are clear. Just as clearly, the mother is providing life giving oxygenation to a fetus from the moment of conception, just as she provides it to every other cell inside her body. The most important common denominator of every story of human animation and/or re-animation in the Bible is people live when the Spirit of God breathes on them – whenever and however that occurs.

Psalms 139 says God knew the psalmist before he was born, or even formed; he was knit together by God in the womb when he was yet unformed, when there was nothing to him. God tells Jeremiah, and Paul of Tarsus after him, that He formed him from nothing in the womb. Isaiah claims that pre-animate formation by God Himself in Chapters 44 and 49. Job 31 assures us that all humankind are formed in just this way by God Himself and for His own purposes. Clearly – from a biblical standpoint – life begins when and because God so designates it from the beginning.

Of course science – as always when it is not perverted by political agenda – is one hundred per cent in support of the scriptural viewpoint. Fetal heart beat and even brain activity is now detectable closer and closer to conception. DNA tests on aborted or miscarried unborn children are fully – no-brainer – human. Younger and younger pre-natal human beings are able to live outside of the womb; I personally know twins born at less than twenty-four weeks gestation who flourish today. The reason they flourish is because the parents refused consent to let one of them die that the other might have a better chance. Babies will take that first breath if we let them; we have the technology to bless or curse them more often than not.

Many pro-abortion people defend their position – as ancient Baalists did before them – with statements that a fetus, a pre-born baby, is not a human person but rather a bundle of tissue until it is born. Given this non-human status, the welfare of others already breathing would take priority. Never mind the DNA and brain activity evidence I cited above, or the fact that babies respond in utero to music, parental voices, and a variety of other relational stimuli. Mayor Pete and his allies claim scriptural authority for their viewpoint, so let’s go to scripture. That done, we see their viewpoint is hogwash.

The New Testament word for baby is brephas. The New Testament word for unborn child is…brephas. In other words the Bible makes no distinction whatever between born and pre-born human life, according personality to both. Does anyone really believe if the authors of the NT meant to distinguish they could not have come up with another word? Seriously?

The case of John the Baptist is the most telling evidence for the imputation of human personality to a pre-born child in the New Testament. In Luke’s first chapter Mary is just knowingly pregnant with Jesus when she visits her cousin, Elizabeth, who is about six months pregnant with John. The moment Mary greets her cousin the baby John leaps in the womb, obviously responding to the presence of Baby Jesus in his mother’s womb. One could not ask for a more concrete statement of the biblical view of when human personality – life – begins. As I said earlier, it is when God declares it when as yet it has neither form nor substance.

I suggest Mayor Pete and his friends try reading the Bible – and respecting what they read – before presumptuously telling the rest of us what it says. If they do they might discover the good news that God actually does love everybody, came in the flesh because He intends to rescue everyone who will accept rescue – at any time – and realize the God-who-became-Humanity-embodied, the One who gave communion even to Judas Iscariot – and washed his feet the night of his betrayal – is just as anxious to save people like Mayor Pete who are happy to kill the most innocent humans on the planet at any time.

This is the best news of all time.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

REPARATIONS VERSUS RECONCILIATION Part II

by James A. Wilson

The fifth chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church states – in the first of five verses – we are a new creation when we clothe ourselves in Christ. It continues – contrary to the bromide we are the drivers of reconciliation between persons or peoples – we were first reconciled to God by the sacrifice of Jesus the Son. It finishes by calling us to live as ambassadors of that same reconciliation that generates life itself.

Once we embrace and understand this passage (see my first book, Living as Ambassadors of Relationships, for a fuller understanding) it is a short stroll to understanding the process of reconciliation. It entails three steps and in no particular order. First we need to express our view of reality without pulling punches or resorting to insult. Second is listening to the opposing view, expecting neither pussy-footing nor verbal assault. Third – and most important – we need to permit reframing of the conversation by a third party who cares as passionately as we do while maintaining authentic objectivity; the referee needs to have no dog in the fight other than justice paired with unrelenting love. The catch is there is no Being in the universe other than the God who creates and redeems us with His own blood who perfectly meets the criteria.

Applying this strategy is as difficult as we might imagine it. It requires engagement couched in courageous assertiveness and simultaneous compassionate vulnerability. This is why I claim only the Living God can mediate the feuds that wrack us personally and corporately; only He has mastered the juxtaposition. Yet we are enabled to grow these qualities by association when we submit ourselves to Him in the process. Perhaps that is why He makes such a big deal of ambassadorship for reconciliation in the passage above; this is about becoming fundamentally human.

Lip service won’t cut it. I well remember when this same God called me to deliver a message to a gathering of indigenous people from all over the world some years ago. The message was that He meant to call forth a worldwide awakening from within these indigenous communities in anticipation of the end times; the catch was that He expected me – a white representative of the immigrant peoples – to declare this could only happen when the indigenous peoples themselves repented of their own sins before expecting others to repent of theirs. My fear was of wounding and insulting people who had already been wounded and insulted for centuries by people who looked like me.

When push came to shove and I was unable to find anyone of an appropriate community to deliver the message – people to whom I spoke believed it of God but insisted it was entrusted to me and I had to declare it – I submitted to my calling and began with a declaration of my own repentance. I shared the word I had been given and challenged those present to act on it. The seven hundred or so of us gathered there in Kiruna, Sweden, spent the next four hours approaching representatives of groups our people – whomever they happened to be – had wronged and receiving their forgiveness. The peace of God descended on us in a massive cascade and many deep and permanent friendships were born that day.

The challenge was to each of us – and I have my own wrongs to either prosecute or submit to higher authority in my Lord – to choose between legitimate demands for justice and personal resurrection. Before the next gathering – this time in the Philippines – I found myself victimized in the theft of a sizable inheritance by two persons of the very indigenous peoples I had invited to join me in repentance back in Sweden. Called upon to share my personal testimony of redemption I included my struggle to forgive this and other wrongs I have endured; I was able to joyfully – albeit painfully – assure my listeners forgiveness is a process and God is happy with any who hang in there with Him and with each other in that process. The good fruit included more than forty people who approached me over the remaining days of the event to tell me they had been set free to forgive and be renewed in their lives as a result.

The most dramatic reconciliation incident of that gathering came on the last day of workshops. As an attendee in a workshop dedicated to reconciliation I witnessed a member of a hill tribe whose members – the ones who have not yet received Christ – still practice both cannibalism and headhunting asking forgiveness from members of a tribe on whom they continue to prey. The three of them made an awkward but public statement of forgiveness and reconciliation – at the request of the workshop leader – but without the requisite engagement that makes such a declaration a statement of truth. I was pretty sure we would not see any of them again during this conference.

To my surprise and wonder they turned up near the end of the last workshop session the next day; arm in arm they hung out together for the duration. It was obvious they had not settled for the pro forma gesture they had made from the platform the day before. The circles under their eyes demonstrated they had spent a long night wrestling with the difficult issues of reconciliation through engagement; their efforts were crowned with victory.

If these warring tribesmen can reconcile in the wake of their horrific history so can the rest of us. Erasure is neither possible nor desirable. Following this process – submitting to its Author – is the sole path to justice, redemption, and peace at the end of wherever that path may lead.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books.

REPARATIONS VERSUS RECONCILIATION Part 1

by James A. Wilson

James A. Wilson and Rhonda at the Wyoming Capitol

Chinle High School is on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and the set for television’s Basketball or Nothing. The chronicle of a coach and the team he molds with spit, vinegar, and love is really about across-the-board reconciliation.

Most Americans see Native Americans as people of mystery and stereotype, from pow-wow drummers and dancers to casino people. Basketball or Nothing is about boys becoming men and young people with little hope daring to dream big and work for their dreams. It reveals these people as real and personal; it enables us to engage with them. At beginning and end authentic reconciliation is about engagement with people from whom we have disengaged. It is disengagement that makes reconciliation necessary; it is engagement that makes it possible.

There is a lot of talk about reparations in this season and very little about authentic reconciliation. It is easy for progressives to embrace what seems like a graceful concept of making at long last right what was always wrong, the destruction of a way of life – and many lives – alongside the theft of much land in the name of progress. It is just as easy for conservatives like myself to dismiss the notion with quick retorts like, “It all happened so long ago,” “They did stuff to us too,” and the ever popular, “They stood in the path of progress on land they were not using.”

It gets more complicated – and more heated – when the topic is reparations for descendants of slaves. Progressives can cite the obvious facts of history; free men and women chained and dragged far from their homes, labor extracted from them for centuries; Jim Crow restricted and lynched them even after abolition for more than a century. Conservatives cite the equally obvious facts of the bloodiest war in our history fought – primarily by whites – to set the blacks free, the tremendous progress made since the sixties, and the reality that at their worst these progeny of slavery are mega better off than their counterparts in Africa. There is truth and denial on both sides – whether Native American, Black, or any community that has endured exploitation or persecution.

Take the indigenous peoples and the Doctrine of Discovery. The doctrine states – simply put – any lands discovered by Christian explorers in the hands of non-Christians at the time of discovery become the property of the explorers and those to whom they give or sell the lands. This was the issue in a major US Supreme Court Case – Johnson vs. McIntosh – decided in 1823, and was used to justify the seizure of Indian lands for decades thereafter. The unanimous opinion was written by Chief Justice John Marshall; he claimed large tracts of land involved in the dispute and should have recused himself over the obvious conflict of interest. Although the doctrine has not been tested in SCOTUS for two hundred years, its continuing impact is a source of serious friction between immigrant and native peoples in our land – quite understandably. However, things are not so simple as this.

If reparations are to be paid to anyone we will have to perform the impossible task of determining to whom they should be paid and how much. Many Native Americans have grown wealthy from the casino business, and many more enjoy better housing and healthcare from the same cause; yet a large percentage continue in the poverty that comes from the utter disrespect immigrant peoples – us – have paid to the treaties we made. We say we cannot sort their legitimate claims because they are so divided within their communities we do not know with whom to work; this is true, but it is also a convenient way to dodge responsibility. The same arguments and counter- arguments can be made when discussing black issues, Asian issues, and so forth. And none of these approaches offers engagement; we are still treating one another as issues instead of as people.

It is the kind of social cesspool that invites demagogues on all sides to do what they do so well. Or…
Arapahoes welcoming them to Wyoming Land

Any American who actually cares about living and justice for all – as the Gettysburg Address expresses it – can take the trouble to research the facts of our history. The next step would be to advocate by example within the communities in which we live, not for reparations per se, but for that engagement that leads to reconciliation and a thirst for justice on all sides of the estrangement. One church I know in California began to make a monthly donation to the local tribe – they called it rent on the land that once belonged to the tribe and on which the church now sits. This gesture led to engagement and the church now partners with the tribe in cultural events and mutual honoring.

A coalition of churches on the Northern California coast began collecting annual offerings to give to a dispossessed tribe seeking to buy part of a small island in Humboldt Bay to honor their murdered ancestors. Hearing of this the city of Eureka gifted the tribe with the whole of the island and the offerings were applied to creating a park and monument. It was not reparations; it was a gift given in respect and repentance.

In my next post I will discuss things any individual can do to seek justice without pandering to the demagogues. In the meantime, anyone wondering why I use only examples of churches is because – for the most part – that is all the examples there are of genuine engagement. That may be because – as people who engage with God – we know we are called to be ambassadors of His reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5) first and last.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

DENMARK AND THE IDOLATRY OF THE STATUS QUO

by James A. Wilson

Denmark is a lovely country, albeit once an icon of fear to nations south, east, and west of it. In addition to being the dark setting for iconic works of western literature like Beowulf and Hamlet, Denmark holds a place of dread in Celtic and Germanic lore because the first Viking raids embarked from that land. That was a long time ago.

Denmark was one of a slew of European nations falling victim to the Nazi onslaught of Spring 1940. Despite her capitulation within hours of Hitler’s attack she distinguished herself among those nations by rescuing Jews from Nazi butchers out of all proportion to her size and strength. That too was a long time ago.

Today Denmark is just one more Common Market member worshiping the idol of diplomatic Status Quo. Under that idol the Western European nations with whom most Americans – and certainly American elites – tend to identify continue to condemn Israel for defending herself and claiming sovereignty over her legitimate borders and territory. Unfortunate and unimaginative multitudes of Americans worship that same idol. We really need to sacrifice that sacred cow and we need to do it now.

Donald Trump floated the idea of America purchasing Greenland from Denmark. It seems like it could benefit both Americans and Danes/Greenlandics to me but – frankly – I have no passion for or against it. I do care about people making decisions on my behalf who think history began in 2016; I have a problem with their arrogance as much as their ignorance.

Pundits on both sides of the Atlantic are up in arms because President Trump said he had better things to do than make a state visit to one who mocks our nation. Those days – he says – are behind us. Speaking as one of the Boomer Generation – we cut our teeth on challenging the Establishment – I say, “Praise the Lord for Donald Trump.”

Reality is the Lincoln Administration tried to buy Greenland in the 1860s. Harry Truman tried it again in the 1940s. This is not some harebrained scheme hatched by Donald Trump to be trashed on late night and forgotten when the next joke comes along. Reality is we already have a heavy military presence in Greenland and they have heavyweight energy reserves we could use well. They are a financial drain on their mother country that would be a drop in the bucket to us. If they say yes it is yes; if they say no – which they have – it is no. But it is not a matter for ridicule unless the jokers wish to look ridiculous themselves. Yet Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen mocked our nation along with our president in the way she said no.

In the fifties America under Eisenhower promised to back Hungarians rising for freedom, but when Russian tanks entered Budapest we wrung our hands; the status quo said it was too dangerous to challenge the Soviets re-taking what the status quo called their territory. In the sixties under Johnson we promised to back Czechs rising, but when the tanks returned we wrung our hands again and for the same reason. When Iranian fanatics took our people hostage under Carter we wrung our hands from the get-go and when the Iranian people rose we promised – under Obama – to have their backs, but when the mullas stomped the people back into submission we were nowhere to be found. My generation found that behavior disgusting; we voted Ronald Reagan and George W Bush into office in part because of that disgust.

Both Reagan and Bush – ridiculed by international and domestic elitists at first – demanded and received a level of respect our country has not known since World War II. They succeeded not because they demanded it but because they made us worthy of it. Yet neither Reagan nor Bush followed through where Israel – the center of the earth in both spiritual and international terms – is concerned. Donald Trump broke that mold too.

This president has made us energy independent for the first time in half a century. He has rolled back the regulations strangling our economy; he has stood firm against the climate-change-via-human-activity juggernaut, and re-negotiated crippling trade agreements. He addressed even NATO’s dysfunction to advantage our nation by leveling the playing field. He has sacrificed multiple sacred cows and the mocking band plays on, staffed by the same people who used to use us – foreign and domestic – and now stand discredited. Our present president is unimpressed by the status quo.

My generation popularized terms like, “Up the establishment,” and “Stuff the Status Quo.” Though some of us became an embarrassment with their turn to violence, most were relentless in peaceful resistance to injustice and the arrogance of entrenched power. The founder of the original Jesus Movement – Jesus Himself – was more relentlessly peaceful and more comprehensively faithful to a justice heart than we can even now imagine. But give our president a little credit; he seeks that heart more faithfully than any president in our lifetime. We will have a more just, a more prosperous, and a much more peaceful nation if we – at least a critical mass of we – become relentless in that seeking.

Prime Minister Fredericksen – realizing rudeness is not the best approach to diplomacy – has initiated new and more respectful contact with President Trump. Recognizing error is always a good place to start and nothing to be ashamed of. Perhaps we-the-people-of-chronic-rage can take a leaf from her book too.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

DANGEROUSLY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE

By James A. Wilson

A democratic republic depends on a robust two – or more – party system to flourish. The healthy rough and tumble of debate, competition, and victory for one alongside defeat for the other at the polls every election cycle is what creates and maintains a healthy body politic. Yet the unhinged rhetoric – and behavior – of one party threatens to create such a voter backlash against it we may find ourselves effectively a one-party culture following the 2020 general election.

The Democratic Party was the creation of Andrew Jackson and John Calhoun in the first third of the nineteenth century. Its twin purposes were to perpetuate slavery and suppress the power of banks; the latter became moot after Jackson left the White House but the party bent every effort toward preserving slavery through the Civil War and minimizing the impact of its destruction for a century thereafter. The Ku Klux Klan was created and populated by Democrats.

This is relevant history in light of Democratic claims to be the party of help for minorities. Since the sixties they have talked a good game but have never delivered on their promises. Although civil rights legislation required both parties – within their adversarial relationship – to bring it about, it took Donald Trump to bring prosperity to minority communities and move beyond token appointments of a judge here and a cabinet secretary there to make America the society we envisioned when we confessed all men created equal.

This party that spawned the KKK is now led by people like (black) presidential contender Cory Booker, who recently announced he wanted to punch President Trump in the face; he relents only because he does not – in his words – want to sink to Trump’s level. Yet Trump has threatened no one; his level is a good deal higher than Booker’s. Frontrunner (white) Joe Biden actually challenged the president to a fistfight; his challenge was ignored. These antics bring ridicule on leaders and trash the credibility of their party.

It is current standard operating procedure for Democratic candidates and congressional leaders to resort to absurd slanders – racist in chief, white nationalist and white supremacist in chief – instead of addressing issues. They threaten impeachment for enforcing immigration law on the one hand and refusing to cave to pressure from the now thoroughly discredited Russia conspiracy investigation on the other. On top of this is the evident chaos as rookie members of Congress announce harebrained plans to offer free healthcare to illegals while citizens struggle to pay for health insurance for their families. At the same time the neophytes spew anti-Semitic poison their leaders are powerless – or unwilling – to address. The party looks pathetic and voters are awakening to the pathos.

Other factors make the party look sinister. In the aftermath of the Mueller investigation the exposure of fraud and perjury against the FISA court by FBI officials – including James Comey – gains breadth and clarity daily. All the personalities under investigation are Democrat activists and operatives. The emerging level of corruption amounting to an attempted coup is unprecedented.

The most chilling revelation – recently – is found in the testimony of Dr. Robert Epstein, Senior Research Psychologist of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology before the Senate Judiciary Sub Committee on the Constitution. According to Epstein party supporters outside of government diverted two-point-six million votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election by manipulating social media; ironically this is roughly the same number Clinton claimed to exceed Trump’s total. Epstein went on to testify the actual number of diverted votes was likely larger – and would be much larger in 2020 as social media moguls become more intentional.

I said at the beginning the health of a democratic republic depends on a robust balance, debate, and ongoing contest between at least two parties commanding allegiance in a broad swath of the American public. The contest is an un-mandated but thoroughly necessary check-and-balance in a free society. In this season the Democratic Party is so compulsively binding itself in knots of incompetence, corruption, and lunacy it risks total disintegration of credibility beyond its shrinking base.

This is not a good thing for Republicans or the country. I hold as much disdain and mistrust for Republicans who do not live up to their vision of freedom for all – the vision on which they were founded in the 1850s to eliminate slavery and the corruption of rule by privilege – as I do for Democratic elites who are unfortunately living down to theirs in this season. Politics inherently appeals to those who love power more than progress, despite the presence of good men and women in both parties. If either party becomes simply irrelevant it gives free rein to the worst elements in the other.

My prayer is that the Democrats will recognize redemption when they see it and spend a season of rebuilding instead of seeking a season of revenge. My prayer is likewise that Republicans will see this not as a time of plunder but as a time to say, “There but for fortune…and the love of God for our nation…”

As of now one party is dangerously self-destructive and the other can be easily infected with the same disease if it takes coming success as a reward rather than an object lesson.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

ADDRESSING EL PASO, AND DAYTON FOR RECONCILIATION

by James A. WIlson

In the hurricane of vitriol engulfing the tragedies in El Paso, and Dayton I am (almost) at a loss for words when I see presidential candidates grabbing media attention for political gotchas with their denunciations of a real president as he seeks to bring healing and resolution. These people shriek about the so-called racist-in-chief – and attack the Constitution – instead of seeking to comfort the afflicted. If there is a way to preclude reconciliation in our culture, these people have found it.

Yet as God is my witness, we are better than this.

Reconciliation – as I outline in my first book, Living as Ambassadors of Relationships – is a three part process. It begins with expressing our view of reality through passion coupled with respect; direct speech is good but name-calling a conversation killer. The second step is listening to the other’s point of view with respectful appreciation of the passion if not the logic; again direct speech is appropriate but character assassination is a deal breaker. The last and most important step is permitting the great reconciler – His name is Jesus – to reframe the conversation so all win and no one is victimized. This requires a miracle; human ability is always inadequate..

When this process is engaged with integrity it becomes possible to address issues in terms of what we actually know. What then do we know?

We know gun controlled Norway leads the world in mass shootings on a per capita basis. We know our nationwide ban on assault weapons of the nineties – while it reduced the number of incidents involving fully automatic weapons – failed to reduce overall gun violence. We know Australia has had strict gun control for decades and yet –on a per capita basis – continues to have as many incidents as we do. We know there were as many or more El Paso-like incidents during the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations as we see under this one; these include Orlando, Sandy Hook, and Aurora, Colorado. No one blamed Barack Obama for the incidents on his watch.

The solution requires a painful admission – it is not about who occupies the White House; it is about us.

We know Chicago posted fifty-five gun deaths the same weekend thirty-one died between El Paso and Dayton; most violence in Chicago is black-on-black, demonstrating hatred knows no racial boundaries. We likewise know most large death events are not caused by guns; the Oklahoma City bombing – during the Clinton Administration – killed one hundred sixty-eight and wounded nearly seven hundred; the weapon was made from fertilizer. And we know the most prolific killers are gangs and government, although they are not listed as mass murderers when we take up issues like El Paso; we dare not forget the WACO massacre under Bill Clinton when seventy-six cultists were slaughtered when government agents set their compound afire while they and their children were inside. Neither should we forget cartel killers who terrorize Mexico and traffick across our borders.

To seriously address the violence we have to seriously sacrifice some sacred cows. While deep background checks seem no-brainers considering how many gun killers bought legally, so-called red flag laws pose a serious constitutional threat inasmuch as they seek to ban guns from people who have done nothing unlawful but who are deemed – by whom (?) – to be high risk for offense. Serious or feel-good?

We need to think outside the box across the board. That means revisiting the many studies linking violent crime to family disintegration, violent ideologies, and – brace yourselves – violent video games, hard core pornography, certain kinds of music, and in-your-face movies and television. Whether to ban or restrict these things is for discussion, and other factors must be weighed, but pretending the jury is not in on these factors of causation is burying our heads in the sand.

There is a catch. If all parties to a dispute are not committed – equally – to reconciliation there will be no reconciliation. For example – to take up a current event that has no connection to these massacres – once top officials of the FBI who have been fully exposed for their attempted coup and terminated from their positions humble themselves I would favor that mercy which enables reconciliation. As things stand Andrew McCabe and Peter Strozk are suing to regain their power while James Comey and John Brennan continue to pontificate and fulminate. Only their prosecution can achieve damage control on the one hand and deterrence on the other.

There is a spiritual dimension to the dilemma that cannot be avoided or denied. For openers we need to re-commit – at home, in church, and in school, public or private – to teaching the traditional values that made us a great nation. (I am not promoting religious indoctrination on taxpayer funds, just American History.) Even more important is recognition by a critical mass that we began this dysfunctional road trip with that first betrayal back in the Garden of Eden; we traveled it one knife-in-the-back at a time. (Whether we believe or not there is no other adequate analysis of how we got here.) That said, the same critical mass needs to re-commit to re-focus on the God who alone can reverse our course and bring us home; He assures us He has already done as much and is only waiting on us to cash the check. Now would be an excellent time for that.

The God who creates all and redeems all is first of all a maker of reconciliation. Let all parties engage with one another in the process I outlined above and let us see what He might make of us yet.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com